Airbus Americas Names New CEO and Chairman as Eccleston Retires

By S.L. Fuller | November 7, 2017
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C. Jeffrey Knittel. Photo courtesy of Airbus.

C. Jeffrey Knittel is set to become CEO and chairman of Airbus Americas in 2018. Photo courtesy of Airbus

Airbus has named a new CEO to take over its business in the Americas. Current CEO Barry Eccleston is set to retire at the end of February 2018, the manufacturer said.

Jeffrey Knittel is set to take his place in the Herndon, Virginia, headquarters as Airbus Americas chairman and CEO Jan. 12, 2018. With more than 25 years of global aerospace leadership experience, Knittel was formerly the chief executive of C2 Aviation Capital and president of CIT Transportation Finance. He also held various senior management positions with Manufacturers Hanover Leasing Corp. Knittel’s career began with the Cessna Finance Company. Currently, he is a trustee of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, a member of the board for the USO of Metropolitan New York and a member emeritus of the Board of Governors of the Wings Club. He previously served as president of the board of directors of Just One Break and as a member of the board of trustees at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, his alma mater.

“Jeff Knittel has the perfect skillset to lead the Airbus Americas team into the future, and I am very pleased that he has agreed to join the company — one he already knows well from the perspective of a long-time customer,” said Tom Enders, Airbus CEO. “The Americas is a vital region for Airbus — one where we will continue to expand our investments and corporate citizenship, as well as serve and grow our customer and supplier partnerships.”

In his new position, Knittel would be responsible for Airbus’ commercial aircraft business throughout the Americas. He would also provide leadership for Airbus’ helicopters and space and defense businesses in North America.

“Airbus has an extraordinary record of achievement in the Americas – especially over the last several years – but it’s clear that its greatest opportunities still lie ahead,” Knittel said. “I’m truly excited to join the company and the excellent team in the Americas at such a pivotal time of growth in these markets, and I look forward to building on the strong foundation that the team has already established.”

The current chairman of the board for Airbus Americas, Allan McArtor, will remain with the company as Chairman Emeritus. He has served in this position since 2001.

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